« WKRP in Cincinnati | Main | Levine's Laws »

November 23, 2007



If I remember right, the full-length version of WKRP in Cincinnati's theme song and Gary's full-length version of the Cheers theme were on the pop charts at roughly the same time, which was at the end of the final season of WKRP's run and towards the middle of Cheers' first season. Promoting the new song and new show that way makes more sense, since it was a little strange that they waited on 'KRP until the show had been cancelled before putting the song out for Top 40 stations (though I'm still waiting for a complete version of the closing theme from WKRP. Complete with printed lyrics).


I always enjoyed the way they panned the old pictures in the opening of cheers,with the actors names and such under each picture. I don't think the picture was the actual person,but a facsimileing of them.Joe


Thank you Ken for the post. This was a great 'jingle' and was further propelled by the spirit of the show. Luckily we have these works in our cultural archives to help frame the general mood of the time, and provide some light for what to me is the loss of the easygoing friendliness which has seemed to do a magical disappearing act in todays world. Lets move forward with a step back, and continue to mine the best of yesterday when today cannot meet that standard. Long live humor and kindness! Best wishes... (and cheers, mate.) Gary Betcher


Wow, that made me misty-eyed. I remember that episode with the full-length theme song and the montage that went with it. I loved that show. It was, and is, easily my favorite show ever. Anyone who wrote for it is clearly a superstar in my eyes. Thank you, Ken, for sharing that inside info with us. Cheers!

Tom Hanks (not that one)

For some reason I watched Cheers from Episode 1, never missed an episode.(only show I ever watched that way) The expanded theme was played twice. The first time was during the opening credits of first episode.When the 200th was comming up I remember asking my wife "do you think they will play the whole opening song? the words crack me up".When the final episode aired I was dissapointed they didnt play it one last time.


Didn't they also play it at or near the end of the Last Call show?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeyJ1MIdLXc


At the Breezeway bar at Memorial University here in Newfoundland, they used to play that as the first song of the night every night for a long time....

A. Buck Short

Thank you, thank you. Maybe it’s just being at the computer, but I can’t believe this was the first time I ever listened to that wonderful theme on headphones. Even better. As I recall, you guys seemed to focus mostly on the chorus, rather than the verses in your script writing. Cheers as a place where you just liked to be – as opposed to whatever “sorrows” you were trying to drown by going there. Although admittedly even the song seems to take life’s ironic and whimsical disappointments with a certain self-shadenfreude. (Is there another Germanic form that means instantly “oxymoronic the minute a coined phrase leaves ones lips?”) I think it was smart to leave even the annoyances just implied or assumed so much of the time – rather than going for the easy and obvious story line. Also, for a show set in a bar, I wonder if most viewers noticed how little of it ever had plot elements dealing with alcoholism or Foster Brooksian inebriation --except for the occasional allusion to Sam’s being on the wagon. Even Norm’s sequential beers were treated more as gluttony of a sort. Was this around the time there was early pressure not to show either smoking or drinking, or just another good writing decision?One other question. How much willpower did it take not to lapse into John Ratzenberger’s Cliffy” mode whenevery talking to him? Or constantly throw epistemological softballs just begging for a Cliffian explanation? God, that would have been annoying, not to mention continuous improv he wouldn't even have been paid for?


I never liked Cheers after Shelly Long left - whoever cast Kirsty Alley did the single worst piece of casting in sitcom history. She had no likeability and always made me think of that drunk, loud, embarassing chick that no one ever wants to have to deal with at closing time. Yuck.Plus, as with most sitcoms, everyone became a caricature of themselves in the later seasons. I know it morphed into an "emsemble" comedy but to me, it lost all the charm it had during those first 3-4 years.


I never noticed before how similar this song is to "I'll Be There for You," the theme song from "Friends." Each one gives a bunch of examples of why life sucks, then a chorus that says having friends around helps make up for it. (Of course, that's also the basic story line for half the sitcoms that have ever aired.)


Sorry to be a teensy bit negative, but I could never wait for the theme song to be over - that was when we opened the wine, got out the chips, or put the kettle on.

A. Buck Short

Mary Stella said... I can't tell you how many local bar-restaurants wanted to use the song in their commercials. They couldn't believe it when we explained that they'd have to pay for the rights. Were they kidding? My understanding was that Tom Kershaw, the owner of the Bull & Finch Pub, which is the actual Cheers exterior on Beacon St. in Boston, couldn’t get the rights from Paramount to rename his place Cheers after the series hit, and probably knew better than to try. So it became known as "The-bar-that-inspired-the-hit-TV Show-Cheers." Probably because "The artist that was formerly known as Prince" was already taken.Then some other bar down near Park Sq. at the other end of Charles St. apparently decided that, since Tom wasn’t using the Cheers name, why should it go to waste? Honestly, what were they thinking??? But the Bull & Finch asked for and got something almost as good, exclusive rights to market all Cheers-related paraphernalia in the Greater Boston area. Even the first year, they sold a hundred times more in Cheers ties, keychains, bar accessories, napkins, and T-shirts than in beer and burgers. At Paramount they started calling the place “Cheers and Roebuck” and I’m guessing that was probably Levine's. After a quarter century I’ve still got a couple of Cheers ashtrays, a package of brown-weathered cocktail napkins, and a pristine Cheers long sleeved baseball T-shirt -- but only because I had entirely forgotten I never really was a long sleeved baseball T-shirt kind of guy. (Of the somatotype that when I roll up the sleeves, they almost immediately roll back down again on their own –over and over again.) BTW if you'd like to stock up on stocking stuffers for the holidays, feel free to visit: https://www.cheersboston.com/storeindex.htmThat said, you can blame this additional tangent on residual L-Tryptophane intolerance. Now that this blog hooked me on Family Guy, does anybody know, since they’re in the habit of saluting the Rhode Island greats, if the show ever featured a Coach Colasanto or Coach Pantuso at either James Woods High or Buddy Cianci Jr. High? Seems like a natural. Coach was my favorite. (Not to drop names or anything, but shortly before Buddy C. was sent up to the old greybar hotel, I had the honor of attending an event where we were all presented with jars of the mayor’s eponymous tomato sauce. Other recipients that night included the Farelly Bros., Marion Reese and her husband. Just a reminder, everyone -- Buddy was released about 6 months ago and will be eligible to run for mayor of Providence again in 2012. Save the date.)This concludes your holiday A-D-D report.


funny. i thought posting copyrighted material was illegal without written permission.something about the creators/producers receiving due payment...


Almost a year and a half since season eight of CHEERS came out. *Sigh* Another TV series I was collecting apparently abandoned before being completed on DVD.


The original song the Charles Bros originally wanted was called "People like Us" and it was WAY WAY WAY better than "Where Everybody Knows Your Name"


This song always makes me cry. Think of the old days and how uncomplicated and fun life used to be.

The comments to this entry are closed.


    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
Powered by TypePad